Join us October 18-20 2018 for our 7th Annual Autumn Lights Festival

Tickets are on sale now.  Get them here.

Download this year’s program!

Autumn Lights is a magical festival of illuminated art by acclaimed Bay Area artists, in support of the non-profit Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt.This year the Autumn Lights Festival will be three nights – Thursday October 18 thru Saturday October 20.  Tickets and more info at

The Festival is a unique Oakland tradition, a huge art and light event! It’s a community gathering held within the Gardens at Lake Merritt in Lakeside Park. The Festival is a fundraiser for these beautiful, free public gardens, which are truly the “Green Heart of Oakland.” Local artists create gigantic and small works of art using light.  From tiny clay pottery lanterns to Burning Man pieces, everyone in our art community comes together to create the magic. Immerse yourself in mesmerizing, larger-than-life art installations, fire dancers, live music and more!

This festive event is for all ages. Locally-produced food, wine and beer will be available for purchase.

Note:  This event will sell out. Get your tickets in advance

October 18-20 at the Gardens at Lake Merritt.

Getting To Autumn Lights

With a little planning, getting to Autumn Lights Festival can be made easy! Please use public transit.There is NO parking in the surrounding Adams Point neighborhood and relatively few spaces inside the park which will fill up early.

BART, AC Transit, taxi and ride share are all great options. We’ve added a designated drop off/pick up zone at Grand & Bellevue adjacent to the park entrance and are running a golf cart shuttle to and from the festival gate for those who need. You could also walk, scooter or bike to the festival and lock your bike to one of the racks in front of the main entrance.

If you do decide to drive, please know that the City charges $10 for parking, and space is extremely limited. Handicap/Disabled parking is, as everywhere, very limited to existing marked spaces.


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7th Annual Autumn Lights Festival

The Benefit for Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt

Proceeds will fund improvements at the gardens including construction of two new landscaped gates and entry plazas on Bellevue Avenue.

Imagine yourself immersed in acres of lush gardens illuminated with mesmerizing, larger-than-life art and lighting installations created by Bay Area artists. Join us for our 7th Annual Autumn Lights Festival, beautifully situated in the gardens of Lakeside Park on the shores of Oakland’s shimmering Lake Merritt. The festive evenings blend live music, art, fire dancers, food and libations to make one unforgettable experience. This wildly popular annual tradition benefiting the Gardens at Lake Merritt is easy to get to and fun for all ages. Tickets are expected to sell out so be sure to check back on September 1 for more details!

These enchanted, slightly surreal sights and sounds ─ brilliantly and harmoniously realized in a one-of-a-kind setting ─ epitomize the annual Autumn Lights Festival in the Gardens at Lake Merritt. Like thousands of other attendees, Jon Carroll took a few hours on an October evening to see Oakland in a new light and told the world what he saw.

“…I walked among the dimly lit oaks with distant music drifting in the air.  I thought how very much I liked the Oakland that was being created before my eyes. The event was multiracial and free-spirited; the sculpture sang in the balmy night.”

Jon Carroll, “Magic is all over — just look” San Francisco Chronicle, 21 October, 2014

The Autumn Lights Festival, which has become a unique Oakland tradition, expands this year to a festive 3-night community event held in the seven-acre oasis of themed gardens nestled in Lakeside Park surrounding Lake Merritt.

In 2016, the festival welcomed nearly 10,000 people of all ages who strolled through the Gardens at night, and marveled at the mesmerizing illuminated installations crafted by dozens of local artists.

The Autumn Lights Festival is a fundraiser for the Gardens at Lake Merritt, a free public garden that truly is the “Green Heart of Oakland.”

Last year, the East Bay Express honored Autumn Lights as the “Most ‘Lit’ Festival” in its Best of the East Bay 2016 edition.